Miami: JML Team Panoz preview

Another podium result for JML Team Panoz this weekend in Miami for Olivier Beretta and David Saelens will establish a unique record for the European stars. Since the establishment of the American Le Mans Series in 1999, the most consecutive...

Another podium result for JML Team Panoz this weekend in Miami for Olivier Beretta and David Saelens will establish a unique record for the European stars.

Since the establishment of the American Le Mans Series in 1999, the most consecutive podium finishes by a Panoz-equipped pairing was by David Brabham and Jan Magnussen in 2001.

Beretta and Saelens now share that record after claiming a podium spot in the past four races, but this weekend they have the opportunity to own the record for themselves by taking their fifth in a row.

Both are no stranger to street circuits and each has a unique link to the Monaco Grand Prix - the world's most famous street circuit.

Beretta was born in the French-speaking principality and has lived there all his life. He has raced in his own "backyard' on several occasions including his Formula One stint with Laurouse.

Saelens' record in Monaco also stamps his impressive street racing credentials. He twice took the pole and won the race in Formula 3 in Monaco and also earned pole position there in Formula 3000.

His first podium in the American Le Mans Series (the first of a run of four in a row with Beretta) came on the streets of Trois Rivieres.

For Gunnar Jeannette, the Miami weekend is also a homecoming for the young American star who grew up not far away in West Palm Beach.

The 21-year-old young gun will drive with Canadian Scott Maxwell this weekend. This combination scored a podium at Maxwell's home track at Mosport earlier this year, now they are aiming to do the same at Jeannette's "home" circuit.

OLIVIER BERETTA

"David and I have had a great run in the past few races and we would certainly love to continue that this weekend.

"Having been born and bred in Monaco, I am obviously a big fan of street circuits so I am really looking forward to this weekend.

"Our hotel is right on the race track so it will be just like being at home for me during the Monaco Grand Prix.

"This will be my first race here so the first session will be to learn which way the circuit goes.

"Looking at the map, the track looks pretty tight, but we had a pretty good car at Trois Rivieres and that should give us a good base and starting point."

GUNNAR JEANNETTE

"I'm really excited about racing in Miami. As a kid I was always at the races with my father, who normally ran sports car teams there. I always had to stand out of the hot pits and watch from the fence.

"My first experience on a street circuit was earlier this year at Trois-Rivieres.

"It was my first real 'walls everywhere' sort of experience and I liked it a lot more than I thought I was going to.

"We had a decent result there and hopefully we'll go to Miami and get a good result.

"It will be great for Scotty (Maxwell) to get back in the car before Petit. We had a great result together at Mosport to get on the podium so hopefully we can do it again this weekend."

DAVID SAELENS

"I am a huge fan of street circuits and this will be my first visit to Miami, so this is a race that I have been looking forward to for a long time.

"The atmosphere in the team has been really good and getting on the podium each week has been a real thrill.

"Hopefully we can continue that run and get five in a row - it would be nice for Oli and me to have that record for Panoz.

"Our car has a lot of torque which should really suit the track and provided we can minimize the understeer in the slow corners, we should be quite competitive.

"Looking at the photos from last year, the race has a similar feel to Monaco - that place was always good for me so hopefully Miami will be as well."

SCOTT MAXWELL

"I have never even been to Miami before so getting back into the Panoz this weekend should be great.

"Street tracks are always a lot of fun but can be a race of attrition. The last time Gunnar and I drove together we ended up on the podium at Mosport, so hopefully we can do that again.

"Our car was quite strong at Trois Rivieres so we should be quite good straight off the truck.

"Anything can happen in a race like this. You just don't want to cruise around and wait for your opposition to have some bad luck, but it is very confined and you have to be careful.

"It is great to get some more miles under my belt before teaming up with Gunnar and Ben (Leuenberger) for Petit Le Mans."

-pmg-

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Saelens , Jan Magnussen , Scott Maxwell , Gunnar Jeannette , Olivier Beretta